Comms Ministry looking into political ownership of media, CMA amendments

SHAH ALAM: The Communications and Multimedia Ministry is studying whether to regulate political party ownership and control of the media, says Gobind Singh Deo.

The Communications and Multimedia Minister said his ministry was considering the different approaches to the issue before bringing the matter before the Cabinet.

“There are many different views on how to approach this,” he told the media at the launch of the expansion of Pos Malaysia’s integrated parcel centre here on Thursday (July 12).

“Some speak about controlling the companies that control certain newspapers, some about controlling licences, while some talk about how to allow shareholding but not control of the news agency.

“I have always taken the position that political parties should not control media portals or newspapers, and my position remains so,” he added.

However, the Puchong MP said the decision remains with the Cabinet.

He added that his ministry is also looking to amend Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which makes it a crime to disseminate information that is deemed offensive.

Civil society advocates allege that it stifles freedom of expression.

The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) is calling for the Government and the Attorney General’s Chambers to impose a moratorium on any use of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 233 of the CMA until they are repealed by Parliament.

The Hakam call came after police open investigations into lawyer activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri for publishing an online article that was critical of the institution of the monarchy.

As part of its 14th general election campaign manifesto, Pakatan Harapan had pledged to repeal these and other laws that it had deemed oppressive and a threat to free speech if it ever came to power.

“We are looking at amending certain parts of it, there maybe amendments that relate to investigations, there may be amendments which relate to regulations, we may remove and bring in new provisions,” Gobind said.